The Galveston County Fair & Rodeo has been a staple in the community since 1938. But with having to cancel this year’s festivities, which were set for April 17 to 25, organizers are still dealing with the fallout as it relates to the student exhibitors.
This year’s event would’ve showcased more than 400 exhibitors of livestock, agriculture and youth projects, said Danelle Tibaldo, a member of the board of directors.
Tibaldo, who has been affiliated with the rodeo for 31 years, started as a “show kid” at 8 years old and now is a “show mom,” she said.
“This is unchartered waters for us all, and we ask for patience as we try to accommodate our youth the best way possible,” Tibaldo said. “We are currently working on ways to help our youth moving forward and will provide updates once those decisions are made.”
Officials announced the cancellation of the fair Thursday and cited efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus as the reason in a statement sent to The Daily News.
“We are following the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as our local, state and federal government recommendations as it relates to the gathering of 10 or more people,” Tibaldo said. “We needed to make a tough decision based on the facts.”
Nikki Ashcraft, one of the agriculture teachers in the Texas City Independent School District, agreed.
The district had 100 entrants where 45 students qualified to show their projects, Ashcraft said.
“I know it was a tough call for them to cancel the event, but right now it’s necessary to protect the health of everyone,” Ashcraft said. “It’s extremely disappointing because I know the students worked so hard. I feel especially sorry for the younger ones, who were showing for the first time. It’s just not a good time right now, and it’s better to be safe in these conditions.”
Fair organizers were working on a plan to still be able to provide scholarships for students. Those details will have to be worked out as the award amounts come mainly from the yearly fair revenue, she said.
“This will undoubtedly place a financial burden on us, but be assured we are Galveston County strong,” Tibaldo said. “With the support of our sponsors, community, exhibitors, volunteers and fair family, we will be back next year stronger than ever.”
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